Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : March 2007


Bench and Bar to Host Joint Annual Meeting

This year, MSBA and Maryland's Judiciary are hosting a Joint Bench/Bar Annual Meeting in Ocean City, June 13-16, 2007, at the Clarion Fontainebleau Hotel. More than 2,000 judges, attorneys and guests are expected to attend the Bench/Bar Conference and enjoy the camaraderie shared by Maryland judges and lawyers. This gathering offers separate CLE programming for judges and lawyers, plus a number of programs and social events welcoming members of the Bench and the Bar.

"A joint Annual Meeting of the Maryland Judiciary and of the Maryland State Bar Association is tangible evidence of the fact that the Court and the Bar understand and appreciate the relationship of one to the other," declares Edward J. Gilliss, MSBA President. "In Maryland, we have a rich history of the Bench and the Bar working together to further our mutual goals. Promoting access to justice and respect for the rule of law as well as diversity in the legal profession are goals of lawyers and of judges."

In 2000, MSBA and Maryland's Judiciary held a very successful Bench/Bar Joint Meeting focusing on many key issues affecting the Bench and Bar at the turn of the century. Lawyers and judges in attendance rated the collegiality at this Joint Bench/Bar Meeting one of the most valuable aspects of the meeting. "Not only can the Bench and Bar accomplish much by working together, the Joint Annual Meeting allows for the opportunity for lawyers and judges to share social time," adds Gilliss. "Relationships are re-kindled and new bridges are built when time is spent in conversation."

"Members of the Maryland Bench look forward to resuming the excellent rapport exhibited in 2000 when Maryland's Bench/Bar last conducted their annual meetings jointly," states the Honorable Glenn Harrell, the Judiciary's Chair of the Bench-Bar Planning Committee. "We think we learned a few things then about how to manage such an event and hope to demonstrate that in June at the beach."

One of the highlights of this year's Annual Meeting is the wide variety of substantive law CLE sessions sponsored by MSBA Sections, focusing on such timely issues as the same-sex marriage case Conaway v. Deane, disaster planning, sentencing guidelines, end-of-life decisions, landlord/tenant issues with respect to animals, medical malpractice and eyewitness testimony. Judges will attend their own educational sessions on Wednesday and Thursday then join lawyers at the myriad of Section offerings on Friday, including MSBA's Solo Day.

The Bench and the Bar will have a multitude of socializing and networking opportunities during the joint conference, at everything from MSBA's extensive Exhibitor's Show to events like the Mardi Gras Welcoming Reception, MSBA's Annual Crab Feast, the popular Meet and Greet the New Judges Reception, the elegant President's Reception, MSBA's Desserts Reception, the Children's Hour and the Children's Pool Party. As part of the Judicial Conference, members of the Bench will enjoy their annual Judges Dinner and Dancing on Friday evening.

"The presence of the entire Maryland Judiciary at the convention gives us a golden opportunity to have members of the bench on virtually every panel presentation of the convention as well has having judges participating from the gallery at each of the sessions," declares Andrew Radding, MSBA Program Committee Co-Chair. "This promises to be an outstanding educational learning experience for all of our members who attend the convention."

"The role of the Bench/Bar Planning Committee is to enable all stakeholders to have a voice in the programming, especially our various Sections, the backbone of MSBA's educational offerings," states MSBA Program Committee Co-Chair Edwin H. (Ted) Staples II. "We are striving to put together informative, practical and useful sessions at the Joint Bench/Bar Meeting in June to ensure that every practitioner takes something useful home from the meeting."

One of the top features of the Meeting comes on Saturday at MSBA's Business Meeting, when MSBA members thank and bid farewell to outgoing MSBA President Edward J. Gilliss and welcome incoming MSBA President Alison L. Asti. For additional information, visit

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: March 2007